On February 27th, 2020, in honor and celebration of International Women’s Day, Artistri Sud organized its annual fundraising gala Tales of Triumph. Now in its 9th edition, the Gala highlighted the success stories of the graduates of our ASSET Program and recognized remarkable women entrepreneurs and a man who embody our values. More than ever, this year’s Tales of Triumph Gala was in itself a triumph.

Empowered Women Empowering Women

Our vision is of a world where all women have equal access to opportunities, and can create the lives they want for themselves. Women are too often being told what they should be or should do, but at Artistri Sud, we want women to be able to choose the life they want and live to their greatest potential in relation to their family and community.

Therefore, this year we decided to give the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to seven outstanding women coming from various industries, who can in turn inspire and empower other women to build their own business in the industry of their dreams:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Science and Technology : Dr. Margaret Magdesian, founder and CEO of Anada Devices, who has developed an innovative technology that allows scientists and laboratories to rapidly grow the human nervous system on a chip, reducing the need for research through animal testing and biohazardous waste in the environment;
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Food and Agriculture : Judith Fetzer, co-founder of Cook It, a Montreal-based company that aims to reduce food waste and simplify the lives of Quebecers through its sustainable ready-to-cook meal boxes, a first-of-its-kind in Canada;
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Communications : Anna Goodson, President and founder of Anna Goodson Illustration Agency, who has passionately led, represented and innovated within her professional field for over two decades;
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Business and Finance : Andree-Lise Methot, founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital Management, and President of the Board of Directors of the Ecofuel Accelerator and Ecofuel Funds;
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Consumption Goods : Stephanie Mandrea, co-founder of Dans le sac, a Montreal-based e-commerce company that was launched to inspire change on a larger scale and encourage a lifestyle that is environmentally conscious and sustainable;
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Wellbeing : Stephanie Cote, founder of Voluntas Commemoration, who is passionate about offering support and relief to gently assist the bereaved as they transition through the loss of a loved one; and
  • Entrepreneur of the Year in Professional and Management Services : Nathalie Voland, founder of Gestion Immobiliere Quo Vadis and leader of Quebec’s B. Corp movement, who has reinvented real estate development for over 20 years, contributing to environmental protection and social inclusion.

Empowered Women Empowering Women

The selection was not easy as there were many great women entrepreneurs who deserved to be recognized. We are thankful to our dedicated and impartial Selection Committee, chaired by Chris N’Guessan and composed of Shada Salman, Veronique Mauro, Mackenzie Snow, Genevieve Beebe, Sebastien Cadorette, Gabrielle Paris Gagnon, Sharleen Young and Kim Fuller.

We also had the pleasure to give the Lifetime Achievement Award to Monette Malewski, founder and CEO of M Bacal Group, who has inspired leadership and positively influenced entrepreneurship for women in Canada and internationally for over 25 years. Engaging men in the conversation of women’s empowerment is also crucial to us. We were thrilled to reward the Outstanding Supporter of Women’s Entrepreneurship Award to Bernard Labelle, Chief Human Resource Officer of CGI, who champions the promotion and development of shared leadership and transformative empowerment.

We are only as good as our supporters

Our triumphs are only possible because of those who are there to support us along the way. 

For the fifth year in a row, Tales of Triumph was co-hosted by Donna Saker, host of Montreal’s Perfect Mix: The BEAT 92.5. Joining her this year was Catherine Souffront, a criminal lawyer and prosecutor turned model and comedian, who’s new to Artistri Sud. Their positive energy and smile were contagious as the evening’s program flowed seamlessly from beginning to end.

Artistri Sud received generous support from corporate sponsors, old and new, thanks to whom the costs of our Gala were fully covered.

1) Scotiabank, Canada’s leading multinational bank and financial services provider in the Americas whose activities are guided by its purpose “for every future”, helping individual customers, families and communities achieve success and financial sustainability through a broad range of advice, products and services.


2)         BDC, Canada’s only financial institution devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs and focused on small and medium-sized enterprises, helps to create and develop strong Canadian businesses through financing, advisory services and capital.

3)         Leaderley International Inc., an organization dedicated to creating best-in-class leaders by supporting individuals and organizations through coaching and consulting services that affect one’s capabilities, communication and collaboration skills, and best practices.

4)         National Bank Financial, Canada’s sixth largest commercial bank, supports clients’ financial wealth with a rich heritage of investment know-how and a commitment to highly personalized investment strategies driven by the clients’ situation, concerns and goals .

5)         Sigma Asset Management/Lamarre-Lalonde Group of National Bank Financial Wealth Management, founded in 2006, is a pioneer in risk management portfolios using exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and now manages $550 million in assets for the families of professionals, business owners, retirees and various foundations.

6)         National Bank Investments, an investment fund management firm and wholly owned subsidiary of National Bank of Canada, strives to provide superior risk-adjusted returns over the long-term for all investor profiles by strategically manufacturing and distributing mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and investment solutions and services.

7)          Stikeman Elliott LLP, a globally recognized leader in Canadian law, provides creative Canadian legal services to companies and clients around the world, handling high-profile corporate matters, cross-border transactions and litigation files.

8)          Norton Rose Fulbright, one of the ten largest law firms in the world, employs over 3700 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa, and aims to provide the world’s most preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full quality business law service.

9)         Fasken, one of Canada’s largest legal firms with an international presence in the U.K., South Africa and Asia, and over 700 lawyers worldwide, it is a full-service business law firm that offers expertise and solutions to clients of all industries, affecting other industries, government and individual objectives.

10)       Mazars, an international, integrated and independent firm that specializes in accountancy, advisory, audit, tax and legal services, has helped Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, private and public companies, NPOs and subsidiaries of international companies achieve growth and success for over 50 years.

11)       BMO Exchange Traded Funds, an investment solution offered by BMO Global Asset Management, is a cost-efficient, transparent, flexible, diversified way for investors, personal and corporate, to sustainably and effectively achieve their savings and investment goals.

12)       Trihey Financial Group, a financial consulting firm, has served as a trusted partner for individuals and families for over 30 years, providing wealth management guidance and proactive solutions based on each client’s situation and goals.

We are also grateful to everyone who contributed to the silent auction and raffle, which helped us exceed our goal.

A Triumphant Record

We are pleased to share with you that over $50,000 net was raised, a 67% increase from last year and a great record for us! As Artistri Sud continues to expand, this amount will allow us to face our growth and to help many more women leverage their potential. Last year alone, we opened up our Vietnam program to 90 women, an increase of more than 50% and we hope to continue in this direction, strengthening our impact on communities at large.

In the end, it is all about the people, including our beneficiaries, guests and volunteers. We are grateful for the hard work of the Event Committee (Arlene Whitmore, Guy Lalonde, Vicky Cheng, Olivia El Boustany, Antonella Castellana, Viviene Ogugua, Kat Manhire, Carolina Velarde, Patricia McClintock), chaired by the incomparable Arda Minassian of the Board of Directors! They made the impossible possible in a short time and pushed through all our targets.

To our guests, we were thrilled to have you among us! Being in a room full of more than 200 persons interested and committed to the empowerment of women was exciting and triggered some great discussions and encounters. We will continue to work hard to inspire you and to empower women to be change-makers in their lives and communities, because the world is a better place when women are fully involved on the playing field.